STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Ole Miss softball team hit four home runs and made a late rally on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in Starkville, Miss., but it wasn’t enough as the Rebels fell 6-5 to Mississippi State.
Ole Miss (21-25, 2-15 Southeastern Conference) hit a season-high tying four home runs, including two from freshman designated player/pitcher Madi Osias, one from junior first baseman Londen Ladner, and one from freshman right fielder Bri Payne.
The Rebels, which once trailed by five runs, rallied to cut the deficit to one run in the seventh, but could not bring the tying run around.
“We kept hitting balls and hitting balls, but we needed to do it with runners on base,” Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees said. “We kept hitting them to get them on, but we weren’t scoring a lot of them. We left way too many on the bases.
“Our team can play with anybody, we really can. We just need to show that fight for every pitch, all seven innings and never quit. We’re going to bust through here, and once we do it’s going to get a lot easier.”
Osias went 3-4 at the plate with two runs, three RBI and two home runs. The Tustin, Calif., native also came on in relief and pitched 4.2 scoreless innings Saturday, striking out four. Over the last four games, Osias is 9-14 at the plate with eight RBI, six runs, three home runs and two doubles.
“We put a challenge out to all of our freshmen to step up, and be the leaders and be where we’re going to take this team,” Thees said. “Madi has really done a great job of taking it to heart and has gone up there and really become the player we knew she was. She had a little bit of nerves early, and now she’s like, ‘Forget nerves. Nerves aren’t working for me.’ Now she’s that confident athlete she’s always been and hopefully she’ll continue to get bigger and better.”
Mississippi State came out of the gates with two runs in the bottom of the first, scoring one run on an RBI double to left-center field and one run on an RBI single to center field.
Payne cut the Rebels’ deficit in half in the top of the second with a solo home run to left-center field. It was Payne’s third home run of the season.
The Bulldogs took a five-run lead by scoring four runs in the bottom of the second on three hits, two walks and two hit-by-pitches to take a 6-1 lead.
Ole Miss cut the MSU lead to three with back-to-back solo home runs by Ladner and Osias to lead off the top of the fourth. Ladner’s home run, a screaming shot out to left-center, was her team-high sixth this season, and her second in the last two games. Osias’ home run was a high flying shot to center field.
Ole Miss continued its rally in the top of the seventh with a one-out, two-run home run well over the center field wall by Osias, her second home run of the game and fourth this season. The Rebels couldn’t get anybody else home for the remainder of the inning though, and fell to the Bulldogs 6-5.
The Rebels and Bulldogs’ three-game series will conclude Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. CT at the Mississippi State Softball Stadium.
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